Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Moldovan Bouncer

Spencer Ackerman reacts acidly to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon's childish humiliation of the Turkish ambassador to Israel, Ahmet Oguz Celikkol:
A good relationship with a Muslim country that clearly accepts Israel’s right to exist is an unqualified diplomatic asset. To squander it through churlishness reflects a foreign policy run by a Moldovan bouncer. It’s like we’re living through the vulgar sequel of the Bush administration. Only Israelis are supposed to be more realistic.

Well said. I think Israel has been undergoing its own phase of “mugged-by-reality” machtpolitik, owing to the 9/11 attacks, but also and more to the second Intifada, Hezbollah and the ascendancy of Hamas. I’d answer Ackerman's closing sentence by arguing that foreign policy during the Bush years was a tension between the decidedly non-ideological Rumsfeld/Cheney faction and true believers like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Israel’s foreign policy is more "realistic" in the sense that it lacks this latter ideological dimension, and its liberal democracy is hardened by the considerable etatism that results from a short and violent history.